Dallas Inadequate Security Injury Attorney
Collisions involving inadequate security are a common type of premises liability. Property owners have a legal responsibility to look out for the safety and well-being of visitors, including taking sufficient security measures in locations where they know or reasonably should know that there are dangers. If you have been the victim of an attack, mugging, or other criminal injury because of inadequate security at a property, the premises liability attorneys at the Law Office of Stephen W. Shoultz can help.
Inadequate Security, Premises Liability, and Negligence
Negligent or inadequate security is a subtype of premises liability. It deals with criminal and violent acts, such as robberies, rapes, assaults, or batteries. An injured party can bring an inadequate security claim against a property owner based on the same elements of other types of premises liability laws, mainly, proving negligence. It is not enough to have suffered an attack by someone on a piece of land or property. The victim must prove the property owner’s negligence caused or contributed to the attack due to inadequate security.
Residential and commercial landowners both have duties to provide adequate security, but the specifics vary based on the circumstance. For example, a commercial owner has a duty to protect customers and visitors in the parking lot. A residential tenant of a building, on the other hand, would have a duty to enact security measures inside a residence, but not in the building’s parking lot. Plaintiffs in inadequate security cases must prove that:
- They were on a property legally (they were not trespassers).
- The landowner or possessor failed to take reasonable care to discover prior criminal activities on the land or failed to give adequate warning to visitors regarding known criminal risks.
- The landowner or possessor breached his/her duty to provide reasonable security measures.
- A third party, whose actions the landowner should have reasonably foreseen, caused the injury.
- Were it not for the landowner’s negligence, the injury likely would not have occurred.
- The plaintiff incurred actual damages.
The most critical point during the plaintiff’s burden of proof in adequate security cases is the foreseeability of criminal activity. If there was no way the property owner could have known about prior criminal activity, or if previous criminal activity did not exist, the courts cannot expect the property owner to take precautions. In Texas, the courts determine the foreseeability of criminal activity based on the location’s history. For example, five prior robberies in the same parking lot would point to the fact that a property owner should have provided proper security against this threat.
Why Sue a Property Owner Instead of the Criminal?
After an attack, victims typically want to seek retribution against the criminal who caused the injury. However, it is typically easier for visitors on a property to locate the owner of a property than the stranger who attacked them. While it is certainly worthwhile to pursue a criminal case against the attacker, it is often in the victim’s best interest to also file a premises liability claim against the property owner or possessor.
Suing a property owner instead of the criminal can significantly increase your odds of receiving compensation for injuries. Not only is it easier to track down the property owner, but the odds of actually recovering damages are also higher. In most cases, a criminal would not have the funds to pay for a court-awarded settlement. The criminal would instead declare bankruptcy, and the victim would likely never recover damages. Property owners likely have insurance, enabling them to pay a settlement. If you want to pursue a claim against a property owner for negligent/inadequate security that caused your injuries, contact the Law Office of Stephen W. Shoultz.